Ljubljana’s food scene genuinely surprised us. With modern restaurants at almost every corner in the old town, there are plenty of options to choose from. Most of the restaurants along the river looked fairly new and covered a broad variety of good quality world cuisine.
Traditional Slovenian dishes are also available, mostly meat heavy and down to earth, but its proximity to Italy shows on the menu, with lots of established Italian restaurants and very popular gelato. Cacao was recommended to us and serves excellent gelato and cakes. Great for enjoying the view of the Ljubljanica river and great atmosphere. Also great for grabbing a quick gelato cone on the way.
The market is always a good place to find local produce. In Ljubljana, you would find sauerkraut or bear sausages and other game. With a large percentage of its area covered by forests, bears roam the area and a few have to be killed every year to keep the population stable. The meat is then processed into salamis and sold for quite a lot of money.
Another curiosity are the milk vending machines where you can buy fresh milk for a reasonable price. Either bring your own bottle or get one from the vending machine.
Horse meat is also quite common in Slovenia and there is a burger hut called Hot’Horse in Tivoli park dedicated to horse burger and foal steak. It’s very popular amongst students as they get 50% off the very filling burger menu, but well…it’s not really fine cuisine and the quality of the place is very questionable. Nice to try out, but I certainly do not need to return there. The reviews on tripadvisor are extremely entertaining to read, especially if you use google translate.
Many restaurants offer cheap lunch menus which are great for a quick meal. Choices can be limited but they are typically served quite quickly. The one we had was simple yet satisfying.
Slovenian people like cake, especially the ones heavy on cream. The most famous one is called Prekmurska gibanica and is a layered cake containing chestnuts, poppy seeds, walnuts, apples and ricotta. Another popular dessert is the kremšnita (from German word Cremeschnitte) which can also be found in similar versions in the Balkan countries and other central European countries. It is also called Bled Cream Cake and often eaten by tourists in Bled.
We, on the other hand, ate the kremšnita in Ljubljana (it was a tad too heavy for me) and tried a (very pricey) raw vegan cake in Bled.
The best meal we had in Slovenia was at a restaurant by the lake which served Italian dishes. The scallop and tuna pasta was incredible and of course the nice view was a huge plus. Prices were a bit higher than usual but the food and the scenery was worth it.